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Jul 04, 2013 - 07:06 AM
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Scott Tucker, Level 5 Look to Extend ALMS Points Lead at Lime Rock
Posted by: newsla on Jul 04, 2013 - 07:06 AM
American Le Mans Series News
Scott Tucker, Level 5 Look to Extend ALMS Points Lead at Lime Rock


Following a challenging 24 Hours of Le Mans, Level 5 Motorsports and Scott Tucker return to the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón this weekend, looking to extend its points lead in the P2 class. With wins in two of the opening three races, including a dominant 1-2 finish at Laguna Seca, continued success in Saturday's Northeast Grand Prix is the primary objective for the three-time and defending series championship-winning organization.

 

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Level 5 team principal Tucker will again share driving duties of the Nos. 551 and 552 Siemens/Alpina Watches/Ohiya Casino Resort-sponsored Honda Performance Development ARX-03b prototypes with Marino Franchitti and Ryan Briscoe, who both joined the nine-time national driving champion last month at Le Mans. Tucker currently holds a 10-point lead on the nearest competitor in the ALMS drivers’ standings, with a 7-point margin in the teams’ championship heading into the fourth round of the season.

Measuring 1.474 miles in length, Lime Rock Park, site of Saturday’s 2-hour and 45-minute race, is the shortest circuit on the ALMS calendar. With lap times under 50 seconds and only one left-hand turn, Lime Rock has gained the reputation of being one of the most physically demanding for both man and machine. All three Level 5 drivers are former P2 class winners at the track, including Briscoe, who took his Penske prototype to overall honors in 2007. Level 5 will be seeking its second consecutive P2 victory at the Connecticut circuit following one of Tucker’s best-ever drives in 2012 that saw him hold off recently crowned Le Mans winner Martin Plowman to take the checkered flag.

“I have some good memories of Lime Rock from last year and we’ll try to do the same again this weekend,” said Tucker, who is nearing a milestone 100 career victories. “The team has worked real hard returning from Le Mans and getting prepared for the summer stretch of ALMS races. I’m proud of everyone for making the quick turnaround. It’s time to focus on the championship and I feel that we have the right combination to make it happen again this year.”

As Tucker points out, it’s been a tight turnaround from last month’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, which saw Level 5 record a race finish after battling engine-related issues. More than 15 tons of air freight arrived at the team’s shop in Madison, Wis. late last week, most of which had to be prepared for Lime Rock, including both HPD ARX-03b prototypes and a large list of spares that were brought over for the month-long trip in France.

“It was a big undertaking getting the cars ready and a bit of an extra push getting the damaged motor from Le Mans out of the car and a new one in, on top of all the normal maintenance,” explained Level 5 team manager David Stone. “Fortunately, we were a bit ahead of the game on the second car. Since it was over there for the test day, the guys were able to use the time in between to do most of the prep on that car before it ever left France. Both cars are now in great shape and are ready for the weekend.

"The key to all races, especially a small and busy track like Lime Rock, is for your drivers to have the right balance of patience and aggression and knowing when to apply both,” Stone added. “Since it's a tight track, you are sometimes pressured into making passes that you normally wouldn't take. We're confident for the weekend but are taking one race at a time. ESM are formidable competitors but we have a good team with good drivers and good cars, so hopefully that will pan out to provide good results."

The American Le Mans Northeast Grand Prix from Lime Rock Park, is set for 3 p.m. ET on Saturday, July 6, with live coverage on ESPN2 and ESPN3. ESPN3 will also show live qualifying starting at 4:25 p.m. ET on Friday, July 5.

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